Domaine du Castel (Israel) 1994 E. Ben-Zaken
10/97. Bought at the vineyard Sep-97 for $31.
Eli Ben-Zaken is the best of a dozen of boutique-wineries existing today in Israel.
His modern and future-in-mind winery (and vines) lies in a beautiful spot on the
Jerusalem mountains. His only wine so far, 'Domaine du Castel', is a Bordeaux-style blend of
60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot. It is in my opinion the best made Israeli
wine to date.
Tonight we opened our first bottle of the just-released 1994 vintage. The wine was
decanted for more than an hour and served with a mushroom ragu, meatballs in bamia
and Jerusalem-artichoke pure, cheese and icecream.
COLOR: Dark purple red, full to the rim. A young wine that looks young.
NOSE: Somewhat subdued though very elegant and charming. Young round forest red and
black fruits, clean flowery tones and some vanilla. Reminded me of a young 1990
Pomerol I had not long ago.
TASTE: Excellent and charming on the palate. Much more delicate than the usual
Israeli Cabs that (whether good or bad) are always blockbusters. Fine fruit, good
acidity (rare!) and soft tannins makes this wine extremely tasty even now.
LENGTH: Tannins are felt at the finish, so the medium aftertaste is a bit dry.
TEXTURE & BALANCE: Light bodied, delicate and perfumed. Superbly balanced in a
OVERALL: Very-good-plus wine that will certainly improve in the coming years. My estimate is that it will reach its peak in about three years.
MARK: 16.5/20.aaaaaaaaBUY MORE? Maybe.
Reach Me? firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacob "Yak" Shaya.